Device for faster weaving of Pochampally sarees revives traditional industry

New Delhi: He was pained by his mother’s drudgery when she would be at the ‘Asu’ machine for hours together, ending with pain but less money. Desire to bring her relief led to an innovation that not just helped his mother but the entire weaving community in the region of Telangana.

The ‘Laxmi Asu Making Machine’, developed by innovator Mallesham Laxminarayana Chinthakindi, has revolutionised the weaving of the Pochampally silk and not just reduced his mother’s the drudgery but also that of thousands of weavers involved in the occupation, it said.

Chinthakindi, from Telangana’s Nalgonda, has reduced the tedious and cumbersome hand-winding process of yarn for weaving of the famous Pochampally silk, thus reviving the traditional art as well as the silk saree industry that provides livelihood for many families in the areas.

With the support of the National Innovation Foundation, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, the ‘Laxmi Asu Making Machine’ has been incubated, and now used by thousands of weavers to come up with a Pochampalli silk sarees, the Science and Technology Ministry release said.

Making this special silk of Telangana involves an exquisite tradition comprising a special technique called double ikat style of weaving consisting of dyeing prior to weaving. It produces fabrics of a variety of colours and intricate designs. The traditional process involves drudgery, requiring to-and-fro moving of the hand thousands of times in a span of four-five hours.

However, in what can be described as a classic example of difference that a well thought of mechanisation can bring for common people, the ‘Laxmi Asu Making Machine’ has resolved this challenge that weavers had faced for centuries.

The efforts of Chinthakindi have helped prevent the slow decay of the tie and dye tradition, and triggered the revival of Pochampally saree industry.

The conventional process involved moving hands over a space of one metre up and down around semi-circularly arranged pegs, 9,000 times for one saree, demanding high concentration and accuracy. Automation with this machine has now done away with this process.

Several women have set up ‘Asu machine centres’ generating immense livelihood opportunities and several thousand were directly relieved of a conventional and a non-productive approach.

Chinthakindi was inspired to develop the machine by the challenges his mother faced while weaving a saree. In a day, she could only do the Asu for a maximum of two sarees, and it led to tremendous pain in her shoulders and elbow joints. The pain his mother suffered bothered him a lot. He wondered if there could be an alternative method for Asu that would relieve the physical drudgery for his mother. This led to the birth of the idea of a mechanical device to make the silk-making process easy, just like a power loom replaces a manual loom.

As a result of the innovation, employment opportunities and productivity in the village witnessed an all-time high. Not just this, by virtue of improved designs, there is a clear renewed interest by connoisseurs of silk sarees.

Besides, the large number of women involved in the industry could save time by virtue of automation and hence could focus on studies and could spend quality time with their families.

The Asu machine developed by Chithakindi brought the entire village to the limelight, and now it has been recognised as the world’s best tourism village by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

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